Environmental Laboratory Services

 

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The Mahoning County District Board of Health Laboratory Services Division provides environmental laboratory testing for local residents, businesses, and area agencies.  The laboratory has over 150 clients in the public and private sector and has provided services to agencies and individuals since its inception in 1993.

The mission of the Laboratory Services Division is to provide timely, accurate, and affordable environmental testing for public health-related concerns.

The laboratory provides analytical services on over one hundred different environmental parameters, following a strict quality control program that meets or exceeds the strict requirements established by the EPA.  The laboratory delivers scientifically valid, accurate, and precise data in its mission to protect the public health.

 

Drinking Water Testing

The Laboratory Services Division is a State of Ohio certified public drinking water laboratory.  The laboratory holds certification in Chemical/Inorganics and Microbiology.

As a certified drinking water laboratory, we test for contaminants that help public water systems demonstrate compliance with health-based water standards.  These standards have been established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR).

The laboratory also provides drinking water testing services that comply with the Ohio Department of Health's Private Water Systems Rules.

Homeowners that have questions or concerns about the quality of their drinking water are welcome to contact the Laboratory Services Division for advice on water testing.

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Groundwater Monitoring Program

The Laboratory Services Division was originally developed to provide testing for the Health Department's Groundwater Monitoring Program.  This program, which has been in existence for twenty years, serves residents within a one-mile radius of the seven landfills in the county.  Currently, there are over two hundred participants in the program.

The Groundwater Monitoring Program assures homeowners around landfills that their groundwater is being monitored for contamination.  By providing continuous monitoring, the Board of Health can spot trends early, and better protect the health of the public surrounding these landfill facilities.

The Laboratory Services Division provides detailed water test reports to homeowners that participate in the program and is available for people with questions about their water quality.

The Groundwater Monitoring Program was recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) as a "Best Practice" in the field of Environmental Health.

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Microbiology

The Laboratory Services Division has a full-service microbiology laboratory to perform bacteria testing on both drinking water and waste water.  The laboratory is Ohio EPA certified to test both public and private drinking water systems.

For residents using well water, a bacteria test is an important indicator of a healthy water system.  A positive coliform bacteria sample is an indicator that disease causing organisms could be present.  The Mahoning County District Board of Health recommends that well owners test their water for coliform bacteria at least once a year.  This test will indicate if bacterial contamination is present and also screens for E.Coli.  For more information about bacteria in your well, or to arrange for testing, please feel free to contact the laboratory.

Instructions on collecting a sample for bacterial analysis

Instructions for disinfecting a water well

Our microbiology section also works with local businesses, such as tattoo salons, to be sure that sterilization of equipment within an on-site autoclave is effective.  Test packets can be purchased directly from the Laboratory in batches, and can be mailed via USPS or dropped off to the laboratory after sterilization.  We provide a phone call if a test result becomes positive, and quarterly reports for customers to keep alongside their log books.  For more information about this process, or to begin your testing with the laboratory, feel free to call us during our business hours to set up an account.

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Waste Water Testing

The Laboratory Services Division provides testing services for the analysis of waste water, groundwater, and surface water samples.

To protect Ohio water resources, the Ohio EPA issues National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits authorizing discharge of substances at levels meeting Ohio water quality standards.

The laboratory can provide analysis of parameters to maintain compliance with an NPDES permit.  The laboratory participates in the NPDES Discharge Monitoring Report-Quality Assurance (DMR-QA) study program.  This program evaluates the analytical ability of laboratories performing testing for NPDES compliance.

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Marcellus/Utica Shale Testing and Information

With oil and gas drilling activity increasing in the Mahoning Valley, residents have become more concerned about the possible long-term effects on drinking water wells.  Although some oil and gas companies are performing pre-drill water testing for residents near a proposed drilling site, many residents find themselves outside the company's designated proximity for testing, or desire to do their own testing.

The Laboratory Services Division provides testing services to establish a water content baseline covering a range of parameters.  The testing program includes all of the tests recommended by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

If you are concerned about future water quality issues, it is critical to have a good baseline water test before drilling activity takes place.  In addition, the Board of Health can provide sampling services to the residents of Mahoning County.  Having a qualified third-party collect the samples is a best practice to assure an accurate sample of your water, and assure legal chain-of-custody of water test results.

Recommendations on water sampling before oil and gas drilling

Click here for more information on shale well drilling and permitting from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Click here for more information on shale well drilling from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

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